We have all had a great deal of gloom lately. There are people losing jobs by the thousand, sound businesses going out of business through lack of credit, interest rates on new loans sky high – if they are available at all...
If Gordon Brown or his ministers come up with a plan, the other parties rubbish it. If David Cameron offers an option, Labour spokespersons tear it to pieces. All the politicians are very guarded when assessing the present situation, stating that they are doing all that can be done (or that the other lot are NOT doing all they can), and that there may be further measures needed later. Out in the country, the people whose interviews make it into the media are the ones who are suffering from redundancy, mortgage problems or lack of retail trade.
How sad I was to hear in the media today the response by Alan Duncan, Shadow Business Secretary, to a tiny and uncertain flame of optimism from a Government Minister.
Baroness Vadera, Business Minister, said, "I am seeing a few green shoots but it's a little bit too early to say exactly how they'd grow."
This was hardly earth shattering, particularly as she added, "Is this a positive straw in the wind, or should we say one swallow does not make a summer? It's too early to say."
Her comments reflected the fact that she had heard on Tuesday about a company which had successfully raised hundreds of millions of pounds.
Mr Duncan is the epitome of the smooth talker who has an answer to everything but a solution to nothing. So when he accused Baroness Vadera of being out of touch and insensitive, I felt that he may not understand that those of us who are on hard times may actually find comfort in a small spark of optimism. We all know that we aren’t out of the woods, that there is still plenty of misery to come, but when I heard the Minister’s comments my reaction was a cheerful one. When it was reported that a Tory was demanding an apology from Baroness Vadera, I thought that maybe the doom-merchants need to get a sense of proportion. I for one like to hear a bit of cheerful news from time to time, even if it doesn’t affect me.
We’re all grown up, Mr Duncan. We can listen to the news and understand what we hear. But if optimism is a sin, Mr Duncan, then let’s have a few more sinners amongst the politicians.